Quiet quitting: how do you address it?
Quiet quitting" is not quitting. It's just showing up and doing your job. BUT - it *is* just that.
No above and beyond attitude. No taking on extra responsibilities. No ambition to climb the career ladder. Which is absolutely fine - as long as you don't expect a promotion.
Employment is transactional. And how is an employer supposed to justify a shiny new senior title with a big chunky pay rise if they have no proof that you can actually do it?
So, what is quiet quitting, how do we spot the signs, how do you address it, and do we even need to?
How to spot a quiet quitter
1. Arriving late or leaving early
2. Not attending meetings
3. Reduction in productivity
4. Less contribution to team projects
5. Not participating in planning or meetings
6. Lack of passion or enthusiasm
Quiet quitting is where your people are showing up at work, doing the job they have been employed to and doing only that. They are not doing anymore, giving anything but the bare requirements needed and are certainly not going above and beyond. A person who is quietly quitting is not fully engaged and we all understand the importance of having an engaged workforce.
An engaged employee is somebody who feels valued, they go above and beyond, they are more innovative, they will take less time off sick, have less issues around performance and are less likely to leave. An engaged workforce is key to business success. So, how do we spot the signs of those that are quiet quitting? Look for the person who does only the tasks required, they are not putting their hands up to take on more work, they are not showing huge amounts of enthusiasm for the task that they’re working on, they are not overly social with their teammates, they are clocking in at 9.00 am and clocking off at 5.00 pm on the dot.
We are being made to believe that quiet quitting is something that we should all be worried about but is it such a bad thing when people do not believe that their work should be a central focus of their life, that they do their job well but don’t want to climb the corporate ladder. It isn’t but there has to be a balance, so if somebody wants to turn up and just do the job they are employed to do and go home at the end of the day, that’s ok, every business needs some ‘steady Eddie's', somebody who gets the job done and is reliable, just as long as steady Eddie isn’t the ones knocking on their line manager‘s door asking for a promotion, a big pay rise, and extra benefits.
If you have too many quiet quitters in your team, now that is a problem, business need, and should want people who are engaged and motivated, people who strive for more, creating a highly productive workforce will drive the business forward.
If your employees become disengaged, this is also causing concern because disengaged people will be less motivated and therefore less productive, they won’t meet the requirements of their role, they will be negative, take more time off sick and, more than likely will be looking for their next role on your time.
Causes of quiet quitting
1. Excess workload
2. Poor compensation
3. Blurred boundaries
4. Lack of manager support
5. Unclear or shifting expectations
6. Poor communication or conflict resolution skills
If you have disengaged or quiet quitters in your workplaces there are a number of ways to manage this, regular communication is key, share business goals, plans and updates with your team and ask them for feedback on how they are feeling, what is going well, what is challenging them, what training do they need. Setting expectations is also really important, people are not mind readers, tell them what you need from them and ensure they have the tools and support to deliver this. Measure performance and reward and recognise success and value add.
Your managers play a vital role in engaging your people and will impact not only whether your people are quiet quitting, but also your retention rates, absence numbers and overall business performance.
According to the Harvard Business Review, the least effective managers have three to four times as many people who fall in the “quiet quitting” category compared to the most effective leaders.
These managers had 14% of their direct reports quietly quitting, and only 20% were willing to give extra effort. But those who were rated the highest at balancing results with relationships saw 62% of their direct reports as willing to give extra effort, while only 3% were quietly quitting.
Quietly quitting is another buzzword but it is not new, and it is something that we will see happening more and more if businesses do not invest time and resources into their people. Ensuring that you have good management in place, ensuring that any concerns are addressed, that people are able to share their feedback and ensuring expectations are set and measured is where business leaders need to focus their attention.
Really focusing on engagement and how are we creating a maintaining an engaged workforce in every area of your employee life cycle is super important and will result in having fewer quiet quitters in your team, otherwise this issue will come around time and time again regardless of what label we give.